Amazon has announced it will continue its commitment to the Right Now Needs Fund in Northern Virginia for the upcoming academic year with an additional $1 million investment to support students attending Arlington Public Schools, Alexandria City Public Schools, and Fairfax County Public Schools. The Fund, in partnership with Communities In Schools NOVA, helps remove barriers to learning and works to meet the basic needs of thousands of schoolchildren from underserved communities.
Launched in October 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Amazon Right Now Needs Fund in Northern Virginia was initially made available to students across all 41 Arlington Public Schools and Programs and all 18 Alexandria City Public Schools. In its first year, the Fund provided 8,500 students with immediate access to essential items.
This year, the Fund will continue to provide support for immediate needs like clothing, hygiene products, and school supplies to students in the region. Site coordinators with the nonprofit Communities In Schools NOVA will work with school social workers to distribute Amazon-provided supplies tailored to specific community needs. School social workers and site coordinators will also help support individual school students who could access the Fund for much-needed items throughout the year, from books to winter coats.
Support is provided through prepaid Amazon Vouchers, or Amazon Education Assistance Product Vouchers, which students can redeem online at their convenience. The Fund will also be leveraged to provide educational community programs and events, including tech literacy workshops, college advisement, and career panels.
“Amazon is committed to ensuring children and families from historically underrepresented and underserved communities are supported, which is why we are renewing our Right Now Needs Fund in Northern Virginia,” said Andrea Muscadin, head of Partnerships, Right Now Needs at Amazon. “While we have already been able to support thousands of families in the Northern Virginia area, we recognize many families are facing unique challenges as students prepare to return to school in-person. We are pleased to continue our support in the region.”
To begin the yearlong $1 million investment for the 2021-22 school year, Amazon will donate new backpacks filled with thousands of essential school supplies to qualifying elementary and middle schools in Northern Virginia. Amazon is working in partnership with Communities In Schools NOVA to fulfill students’ basic needs as they prepare to return to the classroom.
“Communities In Schools NOVA is thrilled that Amazon is continuing to support our local students as they head back to school this year,” said Patrick Brennan, executive director of Communities In Schools NOVA. “These backpacks will help many students, some returning to school in-person for the first time since the pandemic began, start the year with supplies to help set them up for success.”
Amazon employees will fill and deliver the backpacks to elementary and middle schools across the three districts before the school year begins.
“We know a strong foundation in education is essential to a child’s success and are proud to partner with Communities In Schools NOVA,” said Brian Huseman, Amazon’s Vice President of Public Policy. “However, Amazon’s contributions are just a small piece of the puzzle. The U.S. needs a comprehensive effort aimed at expanding access to resources and opportunities for students from underserved and historically underrepresented communities. In addition to partnering with organizations like Communities in Schools NOVA, we are also actively supporting policies at the federal and state level to address education as a top priority when it comes to the success of students and their families.”
Amazon has invested in several programs in the Washington, D.C., metro region since announcing its selection of Arlington, Virginia, as the site of its second headquarters. Amazon donated $3.9 million to CodeVA to help the nonprofit expand computer science education to schools in underserved communities. The company also distributed $1 million and thousands of devices to help provide basic necessities to students experiencing barriers to learning within Arlington Public Schools and Alexandria City Public Schools.
Amazon has also donated $1 million to launch emergency COVID-19 response efforts; paid local restaurants to prepare and deliver 10,000 lunches and dinners for first responders, front-line healthcare workers, and vulnerable neighbors at the height of COVID-19; funded delivery services to provide more than 50,000 meals—60,000 pounds of food—directly to the doorsteps of local seniors and those disproportionately impacted by COVID-19; donated $3 million to four legal service providers to support families with housing-related issues; invested in affordable housing through the Housing Equity Fund; and funded many more highly local donations.
Learn more about Amazon’s Right Now Needs Fund in Northern Virginia at About Amazon.